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Continuing our post-Christmas nostalgia, this week we want to share a lovely picture book that our son got from Santa, Lots by Marc Martin (it’s translated as “A Million Things” into Polish so the cover looks rather different).

Each spread shows an interesting place on Earth: some are about cities, some about natural territories, picking out curios, fascinating animals and memorable constructions for an idiosyncratic, personal catalog of the wonders of the world. The illustrations are painted with a mix of lightness and precision, with distinct color palettes that don’t shy away from gray (as watercolor painters sometimes do). The author’s enthusiasm (if not uncritical) for the variety and richness of the things that make up our world is contagious.

Antarctic, water paints work great to show ice and water.
I have a feeling that in the original book everything was written by hand but the typeface chosen for translation actually works surprisingly well.
The wonders of Asia.
Paris, how we miss you!

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And now for something a little different. While we usually show you modern books for their beautiful illustrations and design, sometimes we want to spend time on gorgeous classics (the more so now that we’ve embarked on the humongous job of cleaning up the basement with all the books stored there).

We’re starting with a book not from our collection but borrowed from our friends, Z&A, specifically so that we can document the illustrations. The book is called Everyday Politeness and is a 1970s collection of advice on good manners and polite behavior. Each chapter is illustrated by Jerzy Flisak, a master of Polish design and illustration. While history of Polish design abounds in great talent, Flisak has always held a special place in our heart. He is the one illustrator we remember by name from beloved childhood books and, in a way, he’s one of the people who made us more interested in drawing.

Flisak used clear, light line in his mostly black and white illustrations and his works prove a great sense of humor.

Title page (messy typography is typical for the period).

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Chapter on dancing.

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The beginning of the chapter “On Holidays.”

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Chapter on smoking (the sentiment here is close to our hearts).

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Chapter on romance.

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“In the Theater”

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“Celebrations”

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That basement we mentioned is full of other Flisak-illustrated books so if you like what you see, be sure to stay tuned for other old-school gems.

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Today we celebrate the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. For this momentous occasion we used some of the icons from our Shakespeare Project – our actual, huge celebratory work – as a guessing game. Do you know which play each icon stands for? If not, you may find the answers in last week‘s post. Or you may read the plays again, of course, which is probably the most appropriate kind of celebration.

Peace for Paris symbol by Jean Jullien.

It felt inappropriate to write any other post. Our thoughts are with Paris and its people.

The image by Jean Jullien. It’s a good example of how design, though it doesn’t really change the world, can sometimes help people unite.